Spotlight on J & L Farm in Scroggins, Texas
Justin and Larry Henry of J & L Farm in Scroggins, Texas, are noted for their outstanding performance and the pristine conditions of their farm.
"They are good people and do a good job growing a chicken," says Greg Smith, service tech at the Pittsburg, Texas complex. "They have a perfect farm. It looks like a golf course. Everything is nice and neat and the birds are very well taken care of. They are great with the details."
Like Father, Like Son
J & L Farm is a father and son operation. The parents, Larry and Joyce, have run beef cattle on 300 acres for 30 years. Justin added six 500-foot-long chicken houses on the farm in 1998. Larry also ran a dairy supply business, but has since retired. Both families, including Justin's wife, Lynzie, and their two children, Jake (4) and Adalyn (2), live nearby the farm, but not on the land itself. The Henrys have one hired hand who also lives at the farm.
The farm is fairly sophisticated with each house having a computer system to keep the temperature at the exact degree to make the chickens most comfortable. Along with walking the houses to check the safety of the chickens, ensuring they are properly fed and watered and that the houses are clean, the Henrys keep the equipment maintained and running.
"We help each other. I mainly take care of the chicken houses and grow chickens. My dad runs the cows, but he helps with the chickens too," says Justin about the father-son partnership.
Justin grew up running cattle on his dad's farm; however, he thought there was more of a future and better money to be made in poultry farming.
The family produces 127,800 chickens in each of their four-and-a-half flocks per year. They currently produce a little over half a million chickens annually, though they have produced more in the past. These broiler chickens are grown for consumer sales.
"They've been working for us for around 12 years and they've always been consistently in the top third or the top 25 percent performance-wise," says Terry Wright, grow-out manager. "We judge by weight, feed efficiency and livability or the mortality rate. They grow a real efficient bird with low feed costs and a low mortality rate for the farm."
The fact that their farm is in pristine condition is a big factor in their being chosen as Grower of the Month.
"I've serviced probably 90 farms in my career and they're in the top two or three for the cleanest farms I've ever been to," says Smith. "If someone were coming down that we'd want to show a chicken farm to, their farm would be the place to take them."
Wright notes that the Henrys take special care of the birds and pay close attention to detail. They also take several sustainability measures on their farm.
Focus on Sustainability
"They are conscientious as far as taking care of the birds. They have a water policy management plan. They understand agriculture, they follow all the recommendations, and they do a really good job," says Wright.
Henry agrees that he and his father take pride in their farm and go to special effort to keep the farm in great condition.
"When you're running a half-a-million dollar operation you don't want it to look like a dump," says Henry. "We take pride in our farm. If I can't take care of it, then I don't want it. We try to keep everything cleaned up, we keep it mowed and weed sprayed. If something breaks, then we fix it. We try not to pollute."
The thing Henry likes best about running a poultry farm is being outside and being his own boss. He also likes doing something that's a little bit different.